Greater Manchester Mental Health FT launches new research unit to combat mental health service inequalities

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new research unit designed to study inequalities in mental and physical healthcare.  

The new Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Research Unit (EDI-RU) – provided in collaboration with the GMMH BAME Network – will focus on ‘better’ understanding the lived experiences of people across a range of protected characteristics like age, disability, gender, ethnicity, and religion, to develop learning interventions that help ‘eradicate’ mental and physical health inequalities, the organisation says. 

The EDI-RU unit will also support the trust’s pre-existing research efforts to address health inequalities in ‘underserved populations,’ which includes:  

  • The Culturally-Adapted Family Intervention (CaFI) study, which tests the effectiveness of a new type of talking therapy ‘developed specifically’ with people of Sub-Saharan African and Caribbean origin diagnosed with schizophrenia or other related psychoses and their families. 
  • A Clinical Research Network (CRN) funded study, aimed at ‘increasing participation of people from under-represented groups in research’ by training researcher staff and Community Research Champions. 

Leader of the EDI-RU, Professor Dawn Edge, Professor of Mental Health & Inclusivity, GMMH and University of Manchester, said: “Research shows that the quality of healthcare that we receive, and overall health outcomes (for example, recovery and relapse rates in psychosis) are linked with factors such as ethnicity, age, gender, disability, how much we earn and where we live. 

“We know that those living in poverty or in deprived areas are more likely to experience worse health outcomes, and that the picture is even worse for members of minoritised groups and people living with disabilities.”  

Frances Fenton, Chair, BAME Network, added: “This Research Unit is a huge investment on behalf of the trust, and demonstrates their real commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. 

“There is so much knowledge and expertise out there – from our diverse patients and members of the community who have lived experience of using NHS services, to staff who work directly with patients every day, and understand their needs, as well as their own.”